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Frequently asked questions

Q: How do I apply to study pharmacy in the UK?

All applications, including international applications, are handled by UCAS.

Q: When are the deadlines for applying to study pharmacy?

Each year the application deadline for pharmacy is 15 of January for courses starting in the following autumn. This deadline is set by UCAS.

Q: What are the requirements to study pharmacy in the UK?

Each pharmacy school will be searching for a variety of skills and attributes in their future students. Whether your qualifications are A levels, Scottish Highers, the International Baccalaureate or other equivalent qualifications, it is likely that pharmacy schools will be looking for a good result in chemistry, along with passes in mathematics, biology or physics.

Each school will make its particular entry requirements clear on its website, so it is advised that you familiarise yourself with them by using this list. They will also declare what international equivalent grades they accept.

For assistance with identifying non-UK equivalent qualifications, go to the UKNARIC website.

Q: I want to gain work experience in a pharmacy. How can I organise this?

Some find it useful to try and gain work experience at a community pharmacy prior to making their application. To do this, present a CV and covering letter to local pharmacies and state that you are thinking of pursuing pharmacy as a career. Such work experience would most likely take the form of shadowing a pharmacist and gaining experience in this way, rather than getting too hands-on.

Do not be disheartened if there is no work experience available. Pharmacy schools will always select their candidates primarily on their academic record.

Q: I am a British citizen but live outside of the EU/EEA. Am I guaranteed ‘Home’ fee status?

No. Citizenship does not automatically guarantee Home fee status. Normally, to be considered a Home student, applicants will need to fulfil the following:

  • Be a citizen (so be able to live in the UK/EU/EEA unrestricted by visas)
  • Be ordinarily resident in the EEA (you must currently live in the UK/EU/EEA, and be living here for at least the last three years)
  • The reason you have lived here (UK/EU/EEA) has not been for education (for example you cannot be on a student visa)

There are other exceptions for being considered as a Home student, however for more detail you should contact the pharmacy school you are interested in applying to and the UK Council for International Student Affairs.

What are the fees for international students?

Overseas fees for dentistry vary depending on the school. To find out what these are, you should visit pharmacy schools’ websites or contact the universities directly.

I am an international applicant and would like to study pharmacy in the UK. Are there any scholarships or funding available?
The Pharmacy Schools Council is not a funding agency and does not award scholarships or grants.

Information on general scholarships can be found at the nearest British Council office. You may also wish to contact your local Ministry of Education.

Scholarships or bursaries available can vary between different pharmacy schools, and they will post information on any funding they offer on their websites.

The British Council can help you find funding for a chosen course through its scholarship schemes and links with other websites. Many of the scholarships available are only applicable to postgraduate degrees, but some do provide funding to help cover fees for specific subjects, and scholarships may be available for specific institutions. For help with identifying the funding available, visit the British Council website.

The education departments within the UK Government, the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly and the Northern Ireland Assembly decide on who is eligible for student loans and grants. The regulations on the different categories for eligible students can be complicated. To help, the UK Council for International Student Affairs has produced a summary for international students and also publishes some general information about fees, funding and student support which is available on its website.

I have international qualifications from my home country. Can I use these to apply to a UK pharmacy school?

Most pharmacy schools will list the entry requirements for qualifications such as A levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB). They may also list what the requirements are for other qualifications from outside of the UK.

To find out whether a pharmacy school accepts your qualification, and what the requirements are, you should see individual school websites or contact them directly.

For more information on visa and immigration issues, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has now changed its Tier 4 student policy guidance. For further information on this, visit the UKBA website.

Q: I did not pass my pre-registration year exam. What can I do?

Those candidates who did not pass the exam are able to either re-sit the assessment (up to a maximum of three attempts) or appeal the process.

You should be aware that you need to join the GPhC register within eight years of starting an MPharm course (this is reduced to four years for the Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme route). For more information, see the GPhC’s Pre-Registration Manual.

Q: I qualified to be a pharmacist outside of the European Economic Area. Can I still practise in the UK?

There are a number of steps pharmacists who have qualified outside of the EEA need to go through before they are able to register to practise in England, Scotland or Wales. The first step is studying on an Overseas Pharmacists’ Assessment Programme (OSPAP). See the Applications page for more on the OSPAP.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC), the independent regulator of pharmacists in England, Scotland and Wales, administers applications for eligibility to complete an OSPAP.

After the OSPAP you will need to complete a pre-registration year and pass the pre-registration exam. See the After graduation page for more on the pre-registration year.

Please note that the GPhC requires you to register as a pharmacist within four years of starting the OSPAP.